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A Letter from a Speech Therapist to a Parent

It has been such a joy to watch your daughter's skills blossom over the past two years. There have been so many times I have been amazed at her gains 'in language, insight and social pragmatics. I try to tell you about these times, as they are all treasured moments ... but recently she and I shared such a wonderful moment, I thought I had better put it in writing to you.

We were having dinner last week and waiting for our food to arrive. As we chatted, she asked me how work was going. I told her about a little boy I was testing and that he reminded me of her when she was a preschooler. I explained that he might have autism, and that I was nervous to talk to his parents about it. I wondered if she had any advice for me?

Realizing this was a tough question for any 9-year old, I wasn't expecting much from her answer. She thought about the situation and said "Don't just tell them he has autism. Tell them some things he might do, like have temper tantrums for no reason." I thought this was a great answer, and we talked about how frustrating those temper tantrums can be. I thought that was the end of the conversation, but your daughter went on: "Tell them that they should go to see a good psychologist." Yes, I agreed that was a smart idea. We continued waiting for our dinner; and after thinking for a little while longer, she said, "And tell them not to be afraid."

With that said, I could feel tears coming to my eyes. I told her that her advice was so good, that I had better write it down word for word. Wow. Your family has so much to be proud of--your support, enthusiasm, risk-taking and love have had such an impact on her and on all of us who have the honor of being part of your lives. I'm so happy to be part of "the team"!